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Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Am Who I Am

Quick Summary:

Julian & I peddled out of Portland a month ago, parted ways in Arcata, Cali, and I finally made it to the Bay area! And here's the first pic of me ever on this blog. That's Julian on the left. Notice the roadkill hides on his bike. Julian's bike is a fixed gear 1-speed, believe it or not.

Right now I'm actually in Petaluma at my cousin Annie's house. Petaluma is 40 mi north of San Fran. Annie happens to be a nurse at the same hospital in San Fran where my friend Grace's kidney-donation surgery happened. So Annie gave me a ride down there & back here.
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SALEM, OREGON
Starting in the rain, Julian & I cycled from Portland to Salem, first, where we visited Jose (my friend who rode to Wyoming with me) and his parents & sisters. Then we visited my old friend Jerry Garcia, his wife Lynn, & their 4 kids. Yes, Jerry lives! Jerry Garcia's my friend's actual name. And, no, the guy on the left isn't him. Well, it's a picture of a Jerry Garcia, anyway. I hadn't seen Jerry for some 19 years, since we were in the Peace Corps in Ecuador. I had thought it might be awkward seeing him after so long, but it was as if we'd parted only yesterday.

I've included a pic Jose took around Salem (right). He's a fine photographer.

EUGENE, OR
After Salem, we biked southward to Eugene (left). We
foraged zillions of heavenly hazelnuts & apples. In Eugene we visited my friend Jai, whom I hadn't seen for 8 years! Again, it seemed like we'd only been parted since only yesterday. We hung out at her house while we explored Eugene. Eugene has changed over the years. It has joined the usual anal-retention (retaining waste) trend & become the land of locked dumpsters. Jai also took us to Quaker meeting with her husband, Gra.
FAERIE LAND
As Julian & I peddled south, we decided to stop in at Nomenus Radical Faerie Sanctuary (below, left) in Wolf Creek. The first guy we met, Lopi, was so friendly & welcoming. He told us we were just in time for dinner, insisting we eat, and invited us to stay in a camper trailer on the land. We felt so at home it was totally heart-warming. There are about 6 people living there now. Out of all the intentional communities I've ever visited, this one was the most freely giving & so full of love. Truly a sanctuary. They expected nothing from us.
ASHLAND, OR
After 3 days there, we headed to Ashland. We visited my friends Frank & Sara, whom I hadn't seen in 10 years! They have 2 kids now. After leaving their house, we heading out of Ashland, & saw a sign at the university for a free film on Darfur along with a free lunch. As we looked for it, we biked right into a free bicycle clinic, where Julian got his bike fixed up! The folks there invited us to a potluck that evening, & also offered us a crash pad at the bicycle coop. At the potluck I happened to run into my old friend, Trevor, and an old acquaintance, Stevia, both of whom I hadn't seen in 6 years! Trevor & Stevia were gnomes from my tree-sitting days. Again, magical synchronicity, small world! My head was swimming from all the nostalgia of long-lost friends on this trip, as well as all the magic synchronicities.

Oh, yes, we saw the film on Darfur (in the region of Sudan) the next day. I had not realized before that a major holocaust (like what happened in Rwanda) is happening right now in Darfur! Our media doesn't tell us shit.

INTO CALI
Julian & I peddled on to highway 96 toward Arcata. By this time we were eating lots of fresh roadkill - several squirrels and a juvenile doe - all incredibly delicious. I kid you not. The venison tasted way better than prime beef - not a bit of that usual gamy venison taste. (Yes, I might be vegan if I used money, because the animal industry is treacherous. In a previous blog entry I talk about the ethics of eating meat & hunting & gathering & such). We started tanning the hides with acorn water.

We continued through the Hoopa Valley Indian Res (right). That route is paradise. The Yurok we met there were really friendly, and a bit different by looks & personality than the Navajos in the Four Corners area I'm used to. They seem way more affluent than either the Navajo or Lakota. The Yurok joke that they are called Why You Are Okay.

We decided to take a 20-mile dirt road "short cut" from the res toward Arcata, & we ended up pushing our bikes uphill the first 10 miles, over a high pass! My front tire exploded on the way down the other side. Fortunately, I was carrying extra nearly-new tire & tubes I had dumpstered. In Arcata we camped in the redwoods near the university. We saw a wonderful presentation by the Beehive Collective.

In Arcata, Julian & I decided to part ways. Julian wanted to stay & find a ride to LA, ASAP, & I wanted to pick up peddle speed so I could get to San Fran by the time of Grace's surgery.

2000-YEAR-OLD GIANTS

I biked down 101, then down the Avenue of the Giants. I camped under a couple-thousand-year-old redwood. The beauty was overwhelming. But this small bit of preserved redwood forest is surrounded by clear-cuts, which is heartbreaking.
The banking & housing crisis fills me with hope. I hope it means we stop building more houses, McMansions this nation surely does not need. Another depression, as hard as that seems, perhaps will remind us again to take only what we need & to share, like we all supposedly learn in kindergarten.

As I rode through the redwoods, That common feeling cropped up again, and I thought, "I don't know how I could be more wealthy."

I rode into a visitor center, with campgrounds, where some hiker-bikers came over to greet me. They were ruffians like me. They were hanging tight for the next few days, saying it was going to rain hard. I was tempted to join them, but I surely wanted to get to San Fran soon, rain or shine, so off I peddled.

I stopped at some almost-done apple trees. A local man & his mother saw me foraging & brought me the hugest apples I'd ever seen, & gratitude flooded over me.

CELEBRATING HALLOWEEN WITH ROADKILL & KENDRICK

On Halloween day, a friendly biker named Kendrick caught up with me & we rode together. Like me, he'd been biking all over the northwest the past few months. He was from Bakersfield, Cali. After a bit, Kendrick stopped to write a letter, & I biked on.

I found a freshly-killed doe & stopped to cut a huge chunk out of its rump - food for many days. As I rode on, Kendrick caught up with me again. We decided to camp together that night. He cooked up some quinoa & I cooked up venison with vegetables, wild fennel & other spices. A sumptuous roadkill feast for Halloween! Kendrick said he'd never dreamed he'd be eating roadkill, amazed how delicious it was.

That night the monsoon started. Next morning I said goodbye to Kendrick & biked on in the rain. It monsooned for days, my whole trip to Petaluma. A test of endurance. One of those nights I was grateful to find an abandoned house to sleep in.

Ah, more gratitude as I gorged on concord grapes from the droves of vineyards.

And it was a sense of triumph when I finally peddled into Petaluma to my cousin Annie's house, & gratitude seeing her smiling face when she came home from work late that night.

KIDNEY CONTROVERSIES

I didn't make it to San Fran before Grace & Rick (her recipient) went into surgery. But I was glad to hear she had lots of friends there as support. I spent 3 days there with her & Rick, and got to see my friend Jesse, too, as well as meeting their other three friends (they are all part of the "Jesus Christians" team in the US. I traveled with Grace, Jesse, & Simon last Spring). They feel like family. I'm glad I spent time with Rick, too, getting to know him more. He's overjoyed with his new kidney.

There has been controversy about many "Jesus Christians" ("JC's") donating kidneys. Some people thinking the JCs are a cult and kidney donation is coerced. Even somebody I know wanted to contact Grace & convince her to change her mind.
Grace's mother was there, and Jesse was filming a documentary on it all. He asked Grace's mother if she felt like Grace had been coerced. She said, "By all means, no. Grace and I have talked about this for 8 months and it is totally on her own volition and desire." To those who are opposed to many of the JCs donating kidneys, maybe I could get you in contact with Rick, the recipient, and you can explain to him what a horrible thing it is.

Anyway, I'm hoping to see my "Jesus Christian" friends again within the next few days.

I AM WHO I AM

I put "Jesus Christian" in quotes because, really, I see them as my friends, as humans, not as any denomination. But I sort of wish they didn't call themselves anything, because just their noble actions say who they are. Denominations (labels, names) divide. Imagine if we saw everybody as human beings rather than as ideas, rather than as organizations & memberships & nominations & religions & diplomas & bank accounts & ID cards & possessions.

What if all I had to prove who I Am is simply I Am Who I Am? The world always wants to know by what authority you do anything. The world wants to see memberships, ID, diplomas, records, possessions. People talk about identity theft. What? How can your identity can be stolen if it is real? The world system doesn't see humans, just ideas, grudges, past records, future promises. The world system sees only ego, never reality. But Reality simply sees I Am Who I Am. I Am Who I Am is the Only Reality. There is nothing else.

On this moneyless path, I used to call myself a "Sannyasi" or a "Sadhu". But it was pretension.

What if the only help or recognition I wanted from people was not because of a name I put on myself, or an office I take on, but simply because I am human, not special above anybody.

What if I refuse to go to war or refuse ownership simply because I Am Who I Am, not because I am a Quaker or Amish or Buddhist or Hindu or Christian? What if you give me assistance, not because I call myself a monk or wear special clothes, but simply because I am human, just like the bag lady pushing her grocery cart?
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What if we became as Nature, and our rain & sunlight fell freely, without charge, on both the just and unjust alike, with zero distinction?
*****************************************************
I lost my ID last spring, & it brought me new liberation, new understanding - despite all the restrictions (getting harassed by cops, often getting refused use of internet, barred entry through many doors). All I have for ID is I Am Who I Am. Nobody sent me but I Am. There is no other Name Holy under heaven. There is no other way, no other truth, no other life:
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I Am Who I Am

Friday, September 19, 2008

Still a Peddler Peddling Nothing

I'm in Olympia, WA right now with my friend Julian. Yeah, I'm still peddling a ghetto bicycle around the northwest.

PORTLAND TO REDMOND TO PORTLAND

An interesting past couple months it's been. In mid-August, I bicycled from Portland to Redmond (on the eastern slope of Oregon) to visit my friend Timo (who was my Peace Corps neighbor in Ecuador way back when) and his daughter, Logan, then peddled back to Portland. This young couple, Renee & Zach, emailed me & decided to stay with me for a couple days in Portland to get a little taste of this lifestyle. It was kind of a fiasco trying to meet up with them, but I was glad they were persistent and finally found me. Really sweet kids. I enjoyed their easy-going presence & ability to listen. They wanted out of the city & probably would have continued with me longer had we escaped to the wilderness. Maybe they'll hook up with me again in the southwest desert canyons.

PORTLAND TO SEATTLE

Right after that, Julian & I decided to bicycle to Seattle for a few days. I've been wanting for years to visit my friend, Irv, there, and now was my chance. Irv is an 81-year-old man who walked away from his conventional career and life in his 40s and started doing things like hitch-hiking around the country up till only a few years ago. What attracts me to him is that he decided to walk away from it all later in life, like I did. That's what I like about Peace Pilgrim, too. It's not a youthful flight of fancy to try until settling down, but a way of life.
Very encouraging getting good advice and confirmation from Irv. Here's a man in the last season of his life who will still tell you basic trust in the law of nature is the essence of life. Give up control & everything you need will come to you. He likes to call it providence. Though they are vastly different than Irv in most ways, both my parents are also 81 and will tell you the same, in a different language: have faith and you will be provided for (Little did they know this would drive me to this vagabond lifestyle!).

Irv has several things on the web, but here's a good start to get to know him a bit:
The World of Irv Thomas

OLYMPIA, MOUNTAIN OF THE GODS

Julian and I have been taking our time peddling back to PLand. We have also been getting a lot of flats, and my rear spoke broke. Just yesterday we decided to venture into the streets of Olympia to find a discarded bicycle wheel to snag a spoke from, then find somebody with a tool to remove the free-wheel so we could install the spoke. We hardly knew where to begin. Lo & Behold, just as we started down a residential street, a young man named Lance called out to us, asking if we were on a bike tour. We stopped to talk. Then he opened Door Number 1, his garage door, and, like magic, it revealed a plethora of bikes, parts, and tools! He said he's going to open a bike shop. He gave us a spoke from another wheel & lent us tools. Synchronicity, again and again. And I avoided using bicycles in the past because somehow I didn't think faith could work so well for biking moneyless the same way it works for walking & hitching. Silly me.

Lance then invite us to a show last night, with a couple punkish bands. There was even a slam-dancing mosh pit, which, just a few years ago I would have jumped right into, but somehow it didn't feel so appealing last night. Sign of my age. It's actually fun & comforting watching younger humanoids take up the baton of crazy young energy as I stand on the outskirts.

Julian & I have been camping in the woods near Evergreen College (where I'm using this computer). Julian is an idealistic anarchist-sort of chap, not even yet 21, who likes the idea of living moneyless. He's so easy-going it's nice traveling with him. He plans to keep heading southward after Portland, maybe as far as Baja California. He's been doing this whole trip on a fixed-gear bicycle! He's been keeping up & even passing me with my 10-speed, no prob. Hard-core.

Last night we got word of an Equinox party at the "Nuthouse" here in Olympia. We went & heard amazing music & poetry from several bands & performers. We were totally welcomed to stay the night and given food generously, and even invited to stay indefinitely. It's tempting to take up the offer. I've fallen in love with this Olympian Pantheon & feel it will be on my migratory route, now. Julian has decided to stay here for a bit, but I gotta bike on. I want to meet my friend
(I)Anok (yep, that's how he spells it) on Sunday in Portland before he leaves, so I have to haulass. So it's solo Suelo back to PLand.


Unusual views of society, economics, theology, & nature keep coming to me, but I resist writing them here now, to keep this short. This life is often so exhilarating, in between my many quiet, non-eventful, sluggish times.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Why Roaming in Wyoming?

Days ago I bicycled out of the Rainbow Gathering in western Wyoming and am now in Green River, WY.

PEDDLING TO RAINBOW

Bicycling to this gathering, it turned out that our group split up. Satya, Sara, & Peter decided they wanted to get there fast, so went ahead, while Vlad, Jose, & I wanted to take our time. Sara & I had been riding the tandem bike most the way, & I decided to switch it with Satya's bike, so Satya & Sara could ride the tandem. A few days after our split-up, Satya's bike's hub cassette broke, meaning defunct bike. Meaning I had to hitch with bike. But we weren't far from the gathering and the hitch would likely take only a day. But Jose was way tired of biking & insisted on hitching, & I was way into biking there, so we traded bikes. Jose got a ride right away - to the gathering that day in 2 rides. Vlad & I got there in 3 or 4 more days, only 12 hours after Satya, Sara, & Peter! We tortoises woulda got there the same time as the hares except for our breakdown.

I usually haven't known that many people at Rainbow Gatherings, like a shy new kid at school. But this time I felt so warm & fuzzy seeing so many friends there: friends from Portland (besides our biker tribe), friends from Moab, Santa Cruz, and from previous Gatherings.

WHY DO I LIKE RAINBOW GATHERINGS?

The Rainbow Gathering was inspiring this year for me. It was smaller & mellower than usual, and the area was perfectly beautiful. The scouts, including my Moab friend, Val, again did a fine job choosing the site. I found this photo of it on the net:


Rainbow Gatherings are the nearest thing to a moneyless, gift economy I know of in the human world. How they work is a miracle. No where else have I seen such an overwhelming display of freely giving, as I see at Rainbow Gatherings. And the masses of people who do it think it nothing but fun & don't think about credit. Most are anonymous. Rainbow is anarchy at work. By anarchy I don't mean chaos, but amazing order that arises naturally out of what seems like it should be chaos. That humans, like other creatures of nature, could order themselves without Babylon's overseers & rulers makes the overseers & rulers go ballistic. The LEOs, as usual, were giving poor Rainbow people exorbitant fines for absurdities. One friend from Moab, who always wears green ranger pants (maybe the only pants he has), got a fine for impersonating a ranger. Another man got a fine for standing naked under his solar shower. They gave out tickets for speeding 40 mph in a 35 mph zone in the middle of nowhere. And LEOs, out in force with dogs, searched cars in their obsession with marijuana. I often wonder if this police state is still America. If you want to see real crime and hard drugs, go to any city. Yet the cops are here in force where there is less crime & less violence & less hard addictive drugs & alcohol & more generosity and cooperation than any other place in America I know of. I say this with full conviction.

BIRTH OF GATHERING OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE TRADITIONS?

That said, even so, Satya came up with an idea that he & I have been talking about for years: starting a new, alternative gathering, which for now we call a Gathering of Spiritual Practice Traditions. We envision various world spiritual traditions gathering to share their practices & wisdom with one another. We finally decided to do something about it and declared it at this Rainbow Gathering. About 30 people came to our meeting & want to be a part in starting this gathering, which we hope to begin next year. So what is it? It would be separate from, yet supplemental to, Rainbow Gatherings, not to replace or compete with them. Both gatherings would fill a need.

It would be modeled after Rainbow in that it would be free of charge, without money use at the gathering, open to all.

By consensus, we came up with a 3-fold statement of purpose. It would be a time & place for
(1)Focusing on Spiritual practice without the usual distractions
(2)Creating a forum among the world's spiritual traditions, with a spirit of listening & cooperation with one another, not competition or proselytizing, discouraging egocentric ideas of superiority.
(3)Practicing voluntary simplicity, which the world's faiths teach but rarely practice. The healing of society, the environment, and the individual can never take place without practicing simplicity in this world infected by greed & consumerism.

Any religion, whether ancient or new-agey, that you have to pay any kind of fee for is religion of deception. Truth cannot be sold.

[[Please note the Gathering of Spiritual Practice Traditions group was deleted from the internet December 18th, 2008, due to too much spam & lack of coordination.  My apologies.]]

BICYCLING OUT


It turns out we all wanted to leave the gathering at different times, and I was the last to stay, so I ended up bicycling out by myself. I fixed Satya's bike and rode out on it. I snagged lots of leftover food, mostly whole grains, from the gathering and decided to head out onto the lonely dirt road southward toward Farson. Kind of silly since I have no proper bike tools or partner support or money; but that's my nature.

I saw droves of pronghorns, as well as a few deer. It is said pronghorns rival Cheetahs in being the fastest creatures on land.


I rolled past Farson on lonely dirt roads through high sage desert clear to Green River, Wyoming. Green River is a beautiful town. Yet, it's strange; I asked several people where there was a grocery store and nobody knew, except finally one woman, who told me there was one Smith's miles way up in the foothills in the ritzy part of town. Otherwise, people buy food at Maverick gas station or drive to Walmart in the next town, Rock Springs. Green River is a fairly large town! Astonishing. I remember Kingman, AZ was the same way. The kids there didn't even know what a grocery store was, referring me to KFC instead! Is eating real food becoming passe? Especially if you are poor, you don't have access to actual food, only what masquerades as food. This feels like a twilight zone dream. One day our people will wake up and realize we can't eat money, one Native American prophesied about us.

I'm thinking of hopping a train with the bike and making my way back to Oregon from here.

VIDEO

Oh, yeah, my friend Gordon just announced his new website, which includes the "Moneyless in Moab" video he made with me a couple years ago. For you who've been asking, yes, he got the whole thing on the web. Here it be:
http://www.everythingahead.com/watch.html

FINAL PHILOSOPHICAL PONDERING

Nothing is free
Yet everything real is always freely given!
If I give expecting credit,
I am a person of ulterior motivation,
and I am not real.
Love is never free
Yet love is always freely given!
Anything else is prostitution.

The love of credit is the root of all falsehood.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

GHETTO BIKING

BICYCLING FOOLS

I'm in Boise, Idaho, bicycling from Portland to western Wyoming with 5 friends!

I parted with my Jesus Christian wandering tribe to hook up with 6 of my Portland friends (mostly quasi-Buddhists), and we are bicycling to the Rainbow Gathering in Wyoming. One dropped out after a couple days for health reasons. We are half-way there. And we're on ghetto bikes; a motley tribe we are! And I'm the old man of the group & never did a long-dist bike trip before. Doing pretty good, I'd say. So fun, so spectacular.

We're basically following the Oregon Trail route. We went along the Columbia River, then down eastern Oregon to Boise. Now we head south of the big mountain range across Idaho to Wyoming.

THE SINCERITY OF ACCEPTED POVERTY IS INFINITE WEALTH

These friends are also spiritual seekers, living practically moneyless. Actually, I think Jose (the former Jesus Christian) is totally moneyless - perhaps the first person ever to join me in going totally moneyless! He says he's agnostic, but I often think he's the most spiritual. He's so human, with no pretensions of being spiritual. No religious trappings, like I find my own self falling into.

It's interesting going from one traveling spiritual community (Jesus Christians) to another (quasi-Buddhist) and seeing the similarities in dynamics. I'm in love with human sincerity, and it is overflowing in both groups, despite a few usual tensions that come up in "spiritual" communities.

"POVERTY IS MY PRIDE"

I have had struggles in the past about having a website describing this moneyless lifestyle. People told me I was boasting. I doubted, then zapped it. A few years later folks told me I should publish it again, and I resisted, struggling with doubts about what is boasting, what is not.

It's a critical time. Greed is destroying our souls and our environment - our spiritual and physical health. When the British are coming, Paul Revere has to holler through the streets. Is he trying to get attention for himself or is he a messenger giving warning? Who the hell cares - the British are coming. Let Paul Revere toot his horn. You can waste your energy debating my motives, which may or may not be pure, if you like. Meanwhile, greed is descending on us to swallow us up.

My conscience is settled now.

All of you who are weak, are poor, are debased at the bottom of this greed-ridden society, boast in your poverty, I say. Boast in it! Blow your horn!

"On my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weakness."
(2 Corinthians 12:5)

"Faqr fakhri"
"Poverty is my pride"
(--Muhammad)

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Confession

This was my last comment, my confession, in my last blog entry. I feel it's important, in order to absolve whereever & however this blog is going:

"When two (or more) people argue, both sides are wrong. When two people argue, neither is interested in learning new truth from the other but in being right. This is not a discussion but an argument, and futile, so I confess my part in arguing and I back out. If both sides had truth as the goal, both would come to agreement, always, always, always. And there would be love and no condescension to the other. May love prevail. Nothing else matters. Nothing."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A Wandering, Moneyless Tribe


MONEYLESS TRIBE

I'm back in Portland, camping with friends by the river. Over a month ago, unexpectedly, I left Moab, went to the Cali Bay area, ended up here.

I've actually been wandering moneyless with 3 other folks! Their names are Simon, Grace, & Jesse. We've been together for over a month, up the west coast. We are soon to part ways again and I'm going to miss them. These kids actually found me, through this blog. No blogger pals have dared carry through with hooking up moneyless with me till now.

Here's what happened. Last month my Moab friend, Val, offered to take me to Santa Cruz, Cali and back to Moab. Meanwhile, some Christians in Aussie Land made contact with me through this blog & invited me to their forum. Then they hooked me up with these 3 wandering Christian kids (Jesse, Grace, & Simon) in southern Cali who were willing to temporarily ditch their U-Haul-converted-to-an-RV, as well as all money, and travel with me to Oregon for a few weeks. Though I let them know I accept that all religions are equally valid, they still were open. Their open-ness & universalist spirit, their passion for practicing the teachings of Jesus, impressed me, so I decided to plunge in & hook up with them. They happened to be in San Jose at the same time Val offered to take me to Santa Cruz, which I took as confirmation this was meant to be. So here we are.

I've grown to love these 3 kids dearly. Their sincerity & spiritual maturity touches me to the core. I've learned much from them.

"JESUS CHRISTIANS"

They're part of a small world-wide Christian movement called "Jesus Christians". They hold to the radical idea that the teachings of Jesus are actually meant to be practiced! They observe the obvious, that what is called Christianity blatantly rejects the teachings of Jesus, reducing Christianity to a simple artificial Evangelical formula. That means they urge practicing, not just talking, New Testament teachings: giving up possessions, living by faith, living communally, being loving, open-minded. For me, this has been a test of my deep-down hunch - that if Christians actually even so much as desire to practice the basic teachings of Jesus, they can't help but see all religions as one. Giving up possessions, doing things without desire for credit, is Basic Religion 101, whether you are Christian, Taoist, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim, Sikh, or Shamanist.

ADVENTURES WITH MY WANDERING FAMILY

I've had a few minor disagreements with the Jesus Christians. But living the lifestyle they promote is such a rare and beautiful and fragile thing, I can't knock them. Why strain at gnats and swallow camels? I encourage this movement whole-heartedly, & I feel honored I could be a part of them and continue to be a part of them.

Here's what we've done together. We left San Jose with only empty packs & each a set of clothes - no sleeping bags or blankets even. What we have needed has come when we've needed it. We mostly train-hopped up the coast from San Jose, with a bit of hitch-hiking & a lot of walking, too. We visited friends & some of their family along the way. We have done work projects. We have held a couple forums about moneyless economy on college campuses. And we even went to a mega-church carrying signs. Yup. Grace's sign said "The love of money is the root of all evil"; Simon's sign said, "Love or Money, God or Greed, what is your motivation?"; Jesse's sign said, "Love your enemies, including Iraqis & Bush"; and my sign said "Hey Christian, 'You still lack one thing, sell all your possessions & distribute to the poor' --Jesus". We were surprised at how quickly we were asked to leave. But we were eventually invited back in, as long as we left our signs outside. We had a money-burning demonstration the other day.

There's so much more we've done together & so many coincidences & blessings, but I'll save your eyes from more reading.

Grace, Simon, & Jesse are heading back to San Jose in a few days.

PORTLAND GRATITUDE

Being back in Portland has been grand. My old (and new) friends here, from tree-sitting days, and from Food Not Bombs & such, are more of my family. I'm dizzy with gratitude. It turns out I plan to go on a bicycle trip from Portland to the Rainbow Gathering with a few of my Portland family (Satya, Sarah, Vlad, & maybe others) plus my new friend, Jose, a former Jesus Christian member of Simon, Jesse, & Grace's team, who decided to join me.

Yeah, I can't describe my gratitude.

When all is gratis, all is gratitude, all is Grace. I keep saying that.

MY THOUGHTS ABOUT ALL THIS:

A MONEYLESS ECONOMY WITHOUT A SPIRITUAL BASE?

I don't see how the moneyless lifestyle, True Anarchy, can work without a spiritual base. Somebody out there who believes it can, please prove it to me. I mean try it. For example, if you don't trust in money & trade, what is there left to trust in? If you complain about the commerce system (money & every form of trade) what is your alternative to it? What or who takes care of you, who or what manages the Credit and Debt of the Universe if there is no money system to trust in? I challenge even the scientific mind to actually believe your own science. Why does Natural Selection and the balance of nature work? If you truly believe that Chance & Natural Selection evolved us from an amoeboid to a human, why are you now afraid to throw yourself into Chance? Why do you continue to side-step the laws of Natural selection by trusting money management, the control of credit and debt, which has never ever brought balance or even peace of mind? I don't give a gnats ass what you call the Law of the Universe that controls Credit and Debt outside of the money system. You simply have to have faith in that Law. Simple religion is belief in Love, whatever you call it. I don't care if you call it God, Buddha, Evolutionary Law or Yabadabadoo. The name that can be named is not the Eternal Name, Lao Tzu states. I dare say simple science in practice is faith, faith in the Law of Nature, whatever you want to call it. Work for love or work for money, either or. That simple.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

We're God's Crap Game

Moab

Happy Spring Equinox!  It's finally warming up!  The sun crossed the equator at 11:48 pm last night and I spent it around a fire with good friends a couple houses up the Colorado River from my house-sit at Roberta's & Michael's.

I haven't house-sit much this winter, staying mostly at the canyon cave.  I sometimes crash at the warehouse of  my friend, Val (Moab's teepee maker).

I feel a grand sense of community in Moab this time around. A growing freegan spirit is happening. One example: my new friends, Brer & Haila, have gotten Free Meal going (based on the Food Not Bombs model) - free food for anybody. It has created new community, real people, love. No club or organization can create such realness & friendship like simple, free food. True Communion.

The Cave

It was a colder winter than usual, but the cave was quite warm!  Lots of folks think I'm totally hard-core caving the winter way up the canyon.   Most the "caves" up that canyon are really alcoves, the beginnings of arches, & I've stayed in those in the past.  But presently I stay in an actual cleft in the face of a cliff, going back about 20 feet, 5 ft wide & a 5-foot high ceiling.  There are Anasazi petroglyphs nearby, even one of a pushmepullya big horn sheep.  The cave is south-facing, high on a ledge, a natural solar collector.  I could often sun-bathe naked there in January even as Moabites below shivered in their boxes.  And I rigged a little wood stove from a large tin, with tin cans for a flew, for cooking.  It's efficient.  A couple sticks cook a meal & make the cave blazing warm.  And at night I put plastic over the tear-drop-shaped opening.  I really haven't even had to use the stove for heating.  I never had to get totally into my sleeping bag all winter long.  My coldest times this winter were at house-sits in town.

My Neighbors

I have a pack-rat neighbor in a cave above me.  And a few weeks ago there was a newcomer in the neighborhood - a ringtail cat!  He's probably the reason I haven't been plagued by mice all winter.  He actually tried to move into the cave, making a den in a back cubbyhole while I was gone for a couple days.  I discovered him in the deep of night in the cave making noise, & was relieved to find he wasn't a packrat.  But after we had a stare-down for a few minutes, I reluctantly shoed him out of the cave.  If he didn't leave token turds & pee puddles, I'd accept him as a room-mate.
I've also had canyon wrens try to move in. 
Ah, the feeling of hearing the melancholy canyon wren song heralding in the rising sun!

Some of my other neighbors are chipmunks & rock squirrels, spiders, scorpions (quite harmless), sand lizards, and, unfortunately, a few blood-sucking kissing bugs.
And there are bob cats, coyotes, & a cougar that make their rounds, leaving tracks.  Only once did I ever see a bob cat and a coyote up there, but never that stealth cougar.  And I spot pygmy owls, hawks, occasional golden eagles, & of course ravens.
Oh, yeah, a colony of honey bees moved into a mini cave right above mine, too!  They're just awaking for the spring. And there's a colony of fascinating ground bees nearby, too!

Free Fire, Stolen Fire

Ah, the perfect balance!  Everybody freely eats and is eaten, freely gives and freely takes.  Everything is peaceful, even the violence, because nobody worries that somebody else has it better or worse than themselves.  The violence I witness doesn't eat at the soul like the violence in civilization.

See the fundamental of life hardly anybody notices:  Everybody on earth gets energy from the sun.  Everybody, the just and the unjust. Even the energy running this computer comes from the sun.  And the sun demands nothing back.  Nothing.  All energy is totally, freely given - that is, until it falls into human hands!  That's called Stealing Fire From Heaven, the  universal myth describing what separates us from Nature, makes us fall from Balance.  Our unique ability to control fire symbolizes our unique control of Credit and Debt. This is the Fire Serpent, the Trickster Seraph who brings consciousness of Credit and Debt. He's called Promethius (Forethought) with his twin Epimethius (Afterthought). He is Ego, who dwells everywhere but in the Present Mind. 

We're God's Crap Game


We've become thieves - ungrateful, stingy, possessive, control freaks. Why have we forgotten that everything we get is gift, that by Chance we are blessed? As even the Bible, worshipped by the self-righteous, says:

"The race is not to the swift,
Nor the battle to the strong,
Nor bread to the wise,
Nor riches to men of understanding,
Nor favor to men of skill;
But time and chance happen to them all."
(The Bible, Ecclesiastes 9:11)

I love Einstein, but dare say that genius was wrong when he said God does not throw dice. God IS the throw of the dice and the thrower of the dice! The day we trust ourselves to the throw of the dice is the day we truly realize Faith. Truly we are Evolution, the product of the dice throw, conforming to the Creator's Image! And we are utter fools, whether we are scientists or religious, if we don't see this Total Miracle! Yes, in the dice is the unbreakable link between science & religion.

"The dice are cast into the lap,
But their every decision is from Yahweh."
(Proverbs 16:33)

And fools indeed are those of us who, by CHANCE might be intelligent or wealthy, and have the gall to look down on others, calling them moochers and parasites!  Get this: our ingratitude has gotten so comically absurd we even bottle water and sell it, and we EVEN lock up our trash bins so no hungry urchin dare snatch even a crumb falling by chance off the table of our Slave Trade!  And our Taskmasters (our Politicians & Religious Leaders & Business Leaders) have the gall to call us free!  Why don't we get it?  We insist we can finally balance everything with our our control games, our money, and we just can't.  Not ever.

I say "we" because we are all partakers, and nothing will ever change if we don't take responsibility for our actions, not somebody else's actions. The illness of one cell is the illness of the whole body.

Only trusting the throw of the dice can bring balance, can bring about the Naturally Select, the Elect of Jah.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Comment On My Last Blog Entry

I made a blanket statement about the rich & also didn't make myself too clear about domestic animals in that last blog entry.

I went back & added "generally" to my statement: "wealth turns the heart cold and blinds the eyes."

My sister & her husband sent me an email about domestic animals that challenged my thinking. Yes, domestic animals exist, therefore aren't they natural? They live in symbiosis with us. The human urge to domesticate them seems to be natural instinct, too. Even the most primitive cultures domesticate animals of some kind. On the other hand, my instinctual conscience cannot accept locking up fellow creatures in jails and on chains! Does crying exist in vain? If we can figure out how to keep our relationship with domesticated animals without possessing them, without chaining or caging them, without punishing them for being who they are, then my instinctual conscience would rest free. Though I can only speak for myself, in my bones I feel that every creature shares this instinctual conscience.

I myself would rather die of cold & starvation, or be hunted down, free in the wild, than waste away on a chain or in a jail. To deny that all life has feelings & emotions is to deny our own feelings & emotions. Hurt to others is hurt to ourselves. Hurt to ourselves is hurt to others. Loving my neighbor, loving myself, and loving God (loving the Whole) are one inseparable thing, one trinity. This is common sense.

It's silly we have to convince ourselves with scripture what we already know by common conscience, but we get stone-hearted; if you are a conventional Christian who believes that the Golden Rule does not apply to animals and the environment, why, then, does Jesus implore you to "preach the gospel to every creature"? (This biblical word "creature", ktisis, literally means "every created thing"). The Golden Rule is the very Gospel according to Jesus, whether you read the truth you know in your conscience or are blind and have to prove it by written scripture.


Ever notice how the Law of Nature abhores prolonged suffering, but has no problem with death? Then notice how our present civilization has a problem with individual death yet promotes prolonged suffering, keeping it going day after day, year after year, passing it down through generations, and calling it "compassion"? (Though, paradoxically, present civilization has no problem with mass death through war & poverty). Ever notice how present civilization thinks "compassion" is keeping individuals from experiencing natural dangers, risks, and death?

Why do we think death, risks, and danger (things that cannot be avoided) are so horrifying, and yet we think prolonged suffering, which can be avoided, is an inevitable and necessary fact of life? So how do we avoid prolongued suffering? By accepting what cannot be avoided: death, risk, and danger.

Death, risk, and danger can be denied or postponed, but never avoided. The essence of present civilization is about denying or postponing death, risk, danger. Postponing death, risk, & danger is called debt, which only makes death, risk, & danger even bigger when they do happen!

Freedom comes with death, risk, and danger, without fail. Bondage postpones death, risk, and danger. Bondage is debt. Bondage is prolonged suffering. Yes, the basis of present civilization is delusion, our attempt to deny or avoid Natural Selection, which is bondage, which is debt, which is prolonged suffering!


Thursday, January 24, 2008

Western Wandering

Quick Summary (if you aren't into the whole blog entry)
I'm finally back in Moab, Utah since I left here last Spring. And finally blogging again. After Alaska, I spent a lot of time in Portland, Oregon & some in eastern Oregon. Then I train-hopped from Portland all the way to Mojave, California. From there I train-hopped & hitched to Sedona, Arizona & hung out in the nearby desert with a friend. After that I went to the Colorado mountains & spent time with my brother's family, then came back here to Moab.

Oregon

Portland was splendid. So good to see familiar friends after weeks in the wild: like Denise, who arranged that I would have transpo from the airport & a place to stay. Yeah, I was so touched to see my friends Arnie & Adrien waiting at the airport to whisk me off to Adrien's house on a tandem bike! I got back in the Food Not Bombs scene in PLand. And transformations have happened with my friend Satya (the houseless dharma bum formerly-known-as-a-Zen priest I hung out with in the woods in Marin County, CA a few years ago) since I saw him last. In addition to helping keep FNB going, he's holding a weekly meditation group in the park, and I can't describe how inspired I feel from it.

I also traipsed off to a regional rainbow gathering in eastern Oregon with a new friend, Ashanti. The gathering didn't do much for me this time. But afterward I got to visit my old friends Timo & his daughter, Logan, near Bend (Timo was my nearest gringo neighbor in Ecuador many suns ago).
When I came back to PLand, I finally got to meet my blog buddy, Romanos, in person, at the Greekfest, where he was a kind of host at the Holy Trinity cathedral. I also got to attend two Greek Orthodox services for the first time ever. It made a deep impression on me.
California Dreaming is Sometimes a Nightmare


The time came to escape Oregon before the Fall rains & head to Arizona to meet a friend, so I stocked up on walnuts from random Portland trees and hopped an express freight train from Portland all the way to southern Cali! Walnuts are perfect train food - concentrated & satisfying, supplemented by fruit from orchards & vineyards near the tracks! In southern Cali I wasn't with it enough to jump off in Mojave, so I ended up heading toward LA Hell! Thankfully, the train slowed enough for jumping off in Santa Clarita. I was stuck in that unpleasant LA burb for a couple days, then hitch-hiked back to Mojave.

I got two rides from Santa Clarita to Mojave with Christians. It was refreshing they revealed authentic faith, weren't trying to convert me, but simply wanting to help. We had good talks. The second ride, the couple was full of love & we talked about faith and living without money, yet in abundance, and the true message of Jesus totally lost on most professed Christians. They were quite poor, dealing with anxiety about food & rent, and like all of us, need a reminder of the truth that we all know deep down. They both actually ended up crying in gratitude, and we parted with hugs.

Arizona

From Mojave I hopped a train eastward. But I ended up sleeping all the way through Arizona and ended up south of Gallup, NM! So I hopped a train back west. Then the train wouldn't stop in Flagstaff, & I was horrified I'd end up back in southern Cali! But the train finally stopped in the desert outside of Kingman, Arizona.

I walked all day to Kingman & camped in a pecan grove. Luscious pecans. But the people in Kingman weren't so luscious. I saw nary a smile and many a scowl, and a sheriff's deputy was actually guarding the Basha's grocery store dumpster!! I went back and asked him why he was guarding the dumpster against hungry people and we talked for maybe an hour. You wouldn't believe his reasoning - too much to write here. We actually parted on fairly good terms. Strong, cold winds blew in and I thumbed for two solid days. In those 2 days, somebody once acknowledged my existence & handed me $3, which I left in a bathroom stall.

I finally hiked east of Kingman on the interstate & got totally shivering cold, exhausted, & frustrated with my species. Time to stop hitching, take a nap, then meditate until my bad thoughts vanished, till I found pristine contentment. I settled it in my mind that being here & now is the best place ever, the only perfect place, & it didn't matter that I could be in Kingman Hell for a week. This is one of my mantras when things get repulsive: "I choose this moment and this place". This brings my will into one-ness with the Universal Will. So a beauty finally filled my being & I was ready to go back to the hiway. Behold, ironically now that I was okay staying, within a minute of sticking out my thumb, a Mexican in a van stopped. He didn't know a lick of English. I thanked him profusely & told him that few of my fellow countrymen remember how to help each other, that mostly Mexicans & central Americans stop to help me. We agreed that, generally, wealth turns the heart cold and blinds the eyes. He was heading from a job in Idaho to another in Phoenix, trying to make enough money to send back to his family near Mexico City, he said. He let me off in Flagstaff, and got out of the car to give me a warm handshake & goodbye, as Latinos usually do with me.

People around Flagstaff are more civil again, and I had no problem getting rides to Sedona. In Sedona I met up with my old friend Michael from Vermont, who was holding a medical conference for naturopathic doctors & MD's. I finally got to meet his beautiful wife, and I was surprised that our mutual Canadian friend, Alex, was there.

Desert Dinners

Michael's & my plan was to go to the desert after the conference and meditate & eat wild for a couple weeks. So that we did. Michael's Sedona friend said he knew the perfect spot south of Sedona, with a creek & springs. He let dropped us off in the middle of the desert & pointed the way to a canyon with a "creek". After a day of hiking, we reached the canyon bottom to find nary a drop of water. Next day, we hiked a half-day more & found a muddy puddle full of javelina prints. Michael had a good filter, so we drank a bit, then headed on, thinking we'd come to the "springs." About as likely as the Fountain of Youth. We had brought apples & oranges, which assuaged our thirst a while. The next day, we decided to hike outta there, dizzy & weak. We returned to where our friend had dropped us off, and we ate our last apples. Oddly, after eating the apples, we felt weaker than before. We figured we'd walk on till we made it to a Korean meditation center in the distance, or till a car stopped. We came upon some prickly pear fruits and ate a couple. Unbelievably juicy & sweet & satisfying. Then I was amazed at what a jolt of energy I felt. My thirst vanished, and I felt like running & skipping! Why hadn't we felt this way eating the apples? So we walked on, content. Then a couple hunters stopped. They were heading the opposite direction, but they told us where water was: a nearby cattle tank with pure pumped well water flowing into it! Within a half hour we were there, drinking and swimming & exhilarated. We decided that's where we'd do our meditation retreat.

We camped near the tank the next week & a half, half our diet being wild: mesquite pods, prickly pear fruits & pads, agave, juniper leaf tea & ripe, sweet juniper berries, grasshoppers, some grubs, etc. In our experimenting, we were astonished how much better we felt eating local wild foods compared to the domestic food we brought! Consistently, we found that domestic food made us sluggish while wild food energized us. We thought we would try our hand at hunting javelinas, too, without proper weapons, but it didn't work out (a hunter later told us that it's totally possible, even with bare hands, because javelinas come right up to you if you're patient, though there's a chance of getting a little gored).

Wild Meditations

Yes, I couldn't help but meditate on the ethics of killing to eat, when necessary. Animal cruelty bothers me. Holding animals captive in jail is cruel, whether as pets or as food. But life on earth would cease without hunting. You and I and every physical creature in the universe will be hunted and killed and eaten by something, with zero exceptions. Nothing, I mean nothing, can exist except by the death of something else. Everything is life, and everything feels pain, and everything lives & is killed. EVERYTHING. Accepting impermanence, life & death of all things, myself included, with the eyes of Compassion, is called the spiritual path, the path of Basic Truth. Clearing land to grow beans wipes out entire civilizations of creatures. Mass extinctions & environmental degradation arose with the ancient beginnings of agriculture, not hunting & gathering. Of course, mean people will use this to justify their imbalanced killing & greed, which they will do anyway. All must be in moderation, balance. I can also understand the vegan point of view, and would probably be vegan if I used money. Too many people & land ownership & control makes wild hunting & gathering impossible for everybody.
The Day Lion Species and Calf Species lie together, the Day Wolf and Lamb Species cuddle, is the Day when we release Calf and Lamb from their domestic captivity and allow Lion and Wolf to be Lion and Wolf! It'll happen when we wake up and give up possession of living creatures, when we give up all possessions. Then we can stop killing Lion and Wolf in vengeance. How can they intrude upon what we don't possess? Then Lion and Wolf will again return to perfect balance with Wild Calf and Wild Lamb. Wild and Free means perfect balance.
Compare the warm eyes of wolves and lions and Kung Bushmen to the cold eyes of politicians and CEOs, and perhaps you'll understand.

When we live softly in our materialistic bubble, we lose sight and respect of what life and death really are, & we get a skewed, passive-aggressive sense of morality.

Yes, Michael and I meditated. We felt splendid by the end.

Thumbing Through Flagstaff & Through the Res

I then hitched to Flagstaff, getting a ride with a guy brimming with personality. Nice to find wakefulness in people. He told me all the good, stealth places to camp there, since he used to be a vagabond, too. In Flagstaff I met up with my friend, Sean, & camped with him a night before hitching north. Sean was briefly a Moabite. I hitched through the Navajo Res, where, yes, I always get rides & people are always helpful to me. Folks keep passing the rumor that the Res is a bad place to hitch. That's a mystery, because it's always been better than any other place in the US for me.
Colorado & Utah

I finally made it to Fruita, CO & spent Thanksgiving with my parents, then headed to Conifer, CO to stay with my brother's family at their cabin for a few weeks. Then my Moabite friend Phil was driving through with his mom & brought me back to Moab, where I had a house-sit at my friends' Scott & Katy's.

So here I am in Moab. Now I'm back staying in the canyon cave, & it feels glorious.

......................
Forecast of Continuing Brain Storms & Scattered Showers

I'm brainstorming a lot about the money system again, as well as continuing to find astounding correlations & subtleties in different world scriptures. It's all perfectly connected. I'm still utterly baffled at myself I can find the Book of Mormon infinitely profound, when not too long ago I thought it was the most ridiculous book ever to litter planet earth, and knowing it has lost me much popularity to recognize it! Who says God doesn't have a sense of humor! Next blog, if it's ready, I hope to share some brainstorming I can hardly contain about faith, money & banking.

I have a gnawing feeling that religion is the Trojan Horse, wheeled into the walls of civilization by zealous, religious greed-mongers and war-mongers who are utterly unaware that within it lies dormant the truth that is their own demise.